15. Mrs. White
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he is aware of the hardship caused to full-time students by their obligation to pay, as soon as they start earning, the contributions excused during their period of study; and what action he proposes to take.
§ Mr. Turton
Such a student is not obliged to pay these contributions. If he wishes to do so, he is allowed between four and five years after the end of the course in which to pay.
If he does not pay contributions, is it not the case that he is not then fully eligible for all benefits, and that the final result, even in respect of the pension of his possible widow, may be very serious? Would the hon. Gentleman not consider this whole matter again, in view of the very considerable hardships which have arisen? Has he discussed the matter with the Minister of Education recently? Does he not agree that there might be a case for making these contributions compulsory, so that the people concerned may be counted when grants are being considered by the Minister of Education?
§ Mr. Turton
We must be fair as between the young man working in industry and the young student. I think the hon. Lady will have noticed that in this morning's "Manchester Guardian" we are under fire for feather-bedding the students. We have recently remitted this matter to the Advisory Committee, and they have reported that they are quite satisfied that our provision for students is fair and just to all parties.